In a landmark agreement between government and Indigenous groups, New Zealand’s third-longest river system has been granted personhood, giving it the same legal rights as a person. The local Maori iwi have battled since 1873 for legal protection of the Whanganui River, on which they depend. Now the river and all of its tributaries has become a legal entity, similar to the status that corporations possess. Two guardians – one from the government and one from the iwi – will be given the role of protecting the river and will serve as legal custodians, similar to legal guardians who represent ...


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